November 2014 Update
For 8 years I’ve been longing for land of my own, while working land that belongs to other people. Smitheerens are little shards, fragments, bits– in this case, the little bits of edible and collectable nature found along roadsides, growing feral in a pasture or harbor, in wilderness and hedgerows and abandoned islands. In that sense, Smithereen Farm isn’t really a farm, as much as it is a relationship with places where berries and leaves are growing, can be collected, dried, mixed with sugar and bottled up for winter. So thats what I do… every year the product selection is different, and you can buy them from me directly.The seaweeds come from Maine, where I’ve been apprenticing for different seaweed wild crafters, in the cold pure waters of the Atlantic. Its a thrilling context for direct feedback from the wild aquatic ecosystem, and ‘tending, but not taming the wild’. We get up, suit up, boat out, cut gently into bags, haul ashore, hang to dry in the sun, and then eat a huge breakfast and sleep like dogs in the sun, in the afternoon I go off collecting herbs. The rest of the things are from Berkshires, Adirondacks, Green Mountains, Champlain Valley, Hudson Valley, Pioneer Valley, and occasionally Cambridge Mass, which constitutes my general territory.Meanwhile, the farm-dream lives on, its a dream about permanent pasture, mixed-berries, micro-dairy, honey-bees, apples and fruit trees, big gardens and grazing sheep. Greenhorns, just got a farm in Westport NY and its already attached to an organic orchard, so there will soon be a mother-nursery there with wild and wondrous natives permaculture plants. Come visit.This year we have:Alaria*York Island TEA blend ( Wild Raspberry+Rosa Rugosa womens’ tea)*Shiso tea (tastes like licorice, from juniper hill/ mad crazy flowers)Sleepy tea (chamomile, nettle, spearmint, raspberry, clover)Perky tea ( lemon basil, verbena, mint)(Juniper hill)Feral Russian mint tea (Columbia county)Adirondack Dried soup mix (dill, parsley, seaweed, onions, chives, nettles, carrots)Black currant jam (Pataki’s patch, ADK)Rose hip jam (Maine harvest)“camouflage tea” chrysanthemum, raspberry, nettle, shisoDulse**Kombu**St.Johanniskraut, chamomile, calendula salveBeef Tallow SOAP*both harvested while apprenticing for Atlantic Holdfast on York, Island ME** from ironbound islandLast year we founded Grange CO-Packer in the basement of the Whallonsburg Grange. We produced about 8,000 quays of pickles, jellies, sauces and such. Which we sold locally, as well as aboard the maiden voyage of Ceres, the Vermont Sail Freighter. Greenhorns: Patrick, Severine, Tianna, Ripley and Jen coordinated cargo, markets, communications, artwork, volunteers and farm logistics for that project’s first year. We sold $56,000 of regional products at 13 market locations down the 360 mile journey from Vermont to Manhattan… by boat!Next project: Maine Sail Freight-– stay tuned.